Barack Obama: The Biggest Let-Down of a President

Following President Barack Obama’s landslide victory, the American people knew his presidency would become for the history books, and it truly was. The first African American president knew how to excite a crowd and maintain a good reputation. Although he took the oath of office in a time of crisis, Obama made severe mistakes in attempting to resolve the conflicts that plagued the nation. His legacy will forever be tainted by his actions, or lack thereof, while serving as President of the United States.

In the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, President Obama started his presidency by passing his “stimulus package”, a $787 billion legislation bill that was supposed to instigate the immediate creation ofshovel ready infrastructure projects.I think we can get a lot of work done fast.” said Obama in 2008. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 was passed on February 17, 2009. Even accounting for legislative lag, what’s truly disheartening for the American taxpayer is that many of the stimulus package’s projects didn’t even begin until a year after February 2009. Although some may still praise Obama for lowering the unemployment rate, the labor force participation rate plummeted from 66.0 percent to 62.7 percent during the former president’s two terms, creating a “false-positive” sign that the economy was steadily increasing, which was not the case. In fact, Obama is the first president in history to not reach an average real GDP growth of 3%. Then-Senator Obama was quoted as saying, “The problem is, is that the way Bush has done it over the last eight years is to take out a credit card from the Bank of China in the name of our children, driving up our national debt from 5 trillion dollars for the first 42 presidents — number 43 added 4 trillion dollars by his lonesome, so that we now have over 9 trillion dollars of debt that we are going to have to pay back — $30,000 for every man, woman and child. That’s irresponsible. It’s unpatriotic.” Despite this, former President Obama added 9.3 Trillion dollars of debt on top of the then 9 trillion dollars of debt.

Terrorism presented yet another failure of management for the Obama administration, costing the lives of 391 innocent civilians, with the former president’s “signature” drone strikes in Pakistan. These strikes became the administration’s primary approach to counterterrorism, having successfully killed 3,040 terrorist “combatants.” With 58 percent of the American people supporting the bombings, Obama did not hesitate to authorize attacks on “anonymous men who appear to be associated with terrorist or militant armies through observable behavior.” Under International Humanitarian Law, the accuracy of Obama’s drone strikes came into question, forcing the former president to give a speech proposing policies that provided legal basis for the hundreds of drone strikes Obama approved. All questions were later answered about the accuracy of the attacks as out of the 8 U.S. citizens killed in drone strikes, only one was knowingly targeted. John Brennen, the director of national intelligence during the time, even instructed U.S. Senators to deliberately remove a proposal in an extensive intelligence bill that would require the president to make information about drone strikes and their victims public.

The withdrawal of American military forces from Iraq in 2011 was a massive mistake, as it led to the rise of the infamous Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS). With Benghazi as a tie-in, we uncover the true intentions of the Obama Administration through a leaked Defense Intelligence Agency report, though it was never “publicized” by the mainstream media. In August 2012, the report from the Defense Intelligence Agency reads, “The West, Gulf Countries, and Turkey who support the Syrian opposition…there is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist principality in Eastern Syria, and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian Regime…” In other words, the United States knew ISIS was forming and even encouraged it by accidentally giving weapons straight to ISIS, Al-Qaeda, and Ansar al-Sharia, and the Benghazi attackers. The administration even attempted to frame Marc Turi, an American weapons dealer, for the “accident,” but the Department of Justice eventually dropped the four felony charges against Turi. If the case were brought to the courts, the transcripts confirming a secret weapons program would have to be publicly disclosed. Seeing the militant radical-Islamic group form, and intentionally letting them form, the US could later have the approval of the American people to re-militarize the Middle-East. Such a policy would cost more than 2 trillion dollars, if a war ensues.  From here, the US could defeat ISIS, and impose Western culture on the people left in Syria, Iraq, Iran, and other countries the United States would now control.

Finally, the Affordable Care Act, championed by Obama as one of the greatest policy achievements of his presidency, may arguably have been his greatest failure. With 5 lawsuits, a 26-state joint-action lawsuit, 500 billion dollars in taxes that target medical innovators, a 575 billion dollar funding cut to Medicare providers, Obama’s personal promise to, “ … sign a universal health care bill into law by the end of my first term as president that will cover every American and cut the cost of a typical family’s premiums by up to $2500 a year,” healthcare premiums, on average, have risen by 25 percent, and the estimated net cost of ObamaCare is about 1.2 Trillion Dollars. Obama assured the typical American family, through swift political jargon, that they would see their premiums (and premiums only) reduced by 2,500 dollars a year. He did not use this figure once as if it were just an arbitrary number; 2,500 dollars was used as a benchmark for Obama during a Health Care Town Hall, Democratic debates, and even the Third Presidential Debate of 2008. Boasting about saving 2,500 dollars for the average family, the American people adored Obama as he won the 2008 Presidential Election in a landslide victory. One thing Obama probably should have done, was be honest. The “$2,500” that a typical family would save on healthcare premiums that he flailed, flaunted, and most importantly, advertised, was actually a figure formulated by health care policy advisors that represents the typical family’s share of savings. Yes, part of the 2,500 dollar figure through lower premiums like Obama promised, but he failed to mention that the figure also included lowered premiums paid by employers and in the tax-supported health care programs, Medicare and Medicaid; the American people were not technically lied to, but he was not completely honest. One may argue that one cannot be a politician without “promising the world” to voters, but Obama knew this 2,500 dollar figure came with an asterisk, and deliberately did not disclose it to the American people.

What was predicted to be a triumphant remission from the crises the American people faced eight years ago may now be regarded as one of the worst presidents in history, and fairly so. This charismatic African-American man from Hawaii that was supposed to be a shining light during a dark time in American history is now one of the biggest let-downs to ever taken the Presidential Oath of Office.

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  • John Farran

    I agree. Capitalism is a beautiful thing. If a public option had been passed, we would not have these “legal” monopolies. Thank you for bringing this to my attention. That is a very valid point, I will look into it. If you would like to hear my thoughts on my research into the topic, you may email me at farran@umich.edu.

  • larrysteve

    Apology accepted. Re the ACA, you are aware that the left wing of the Democratic Party — and Obama himself — wanted the so-called public option? Make health care part of the tax base, in other words. That would have solved the “mandate” problem, because with every tax paying citizen contributing, costs would be spread out over the largest group possible, thus lowering costs. Unfortunately, conservative Democrats blocked this move and the ACA became the compromise. Could Obama have used his bully pulpit to pressure the conservative Democratic lawmakers to support the public option? Yes, in my opinion. He chose not to do so, because he knew even the ACA was a bitter pill. And indeed, it certainly is. The Right has tried to repeal it over 50 times. Imagine if a Public Option had been passed.

  • John Farran

    I do apologize. This article will be updated soon as I have edited the paragraph on the Affordable Care Act.

  • larrysteve

    On the other hand, Obama has to be given credit for keeping the mortgage meltdown/ credit crisis of 2008 to a minimum. No easy task, when you consider the grave forecasts for our economy back then. Many economists thought it would be 1929 all over again. It wasn’t. In fact, we’ve since had 6+ years of job growth. Obama has to get some credit for this.

    So, he managed to keep the country out of a Depression, AND passed a health care overhaul. And mind you, a health care overhaul had not been passed, but deemed necessary, here in the US for 100 years. Look it up. You’ll see that every other developed country in the world HAD overhauled their health care system in that time. The US was alone among developed countries to still have mainly employer based health care.

    Obama has struck a blow, but it is a 100 year fight.